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Macrozooplankton and micronekton community structure and diel vertical migration in the Heard Island Region, Central Kerguelen Plateau

Hunt, BPV and Swadling, KM ORCID: 0000-0002-7620-841X 2021 , 'Macrozooplankton and micronekton community structure and diel vertical migration in the Heard Island Region, Central Kerguelen Plateau' , Journal of Marine Systems, vol. 221 , pp. 1-16 , doi: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2021.103575.

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The Kerguelen Plateau is the largest topographic barrier to the eastward flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) in the Indian Sector of the Southern Ocean. The plateau is separated into a northern and southern plateau by the Fawn Trough. The northern plateau has a shallow bathymetry (Polar Front with the northern plateau results in a complex oceanographic environment, with potential for dynamic mixing of sub-Antarctic and Antarctic fauna. Furthermore, the High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll (HNLC) water that flows over the northern plateau is subject to natural iron fertilization from the shallow bathymetry (phytoplankton blooms each summer, particularly to the southeast of the Kerguelen Islands. The Heard Island region on the central plateau has been relatively underexplored. In January 2004, the Heard Island Predator-Prey Investigation and Ecosystem Study (HIPPIES) conducted macrozooplankton (RMT-8 trawl) and micronekton (IYGPT trawl) sampling in foraging areas used by top predators in the vicinity of the island. Macrozooplankton and micronekton were sampled day and night from three depth strata (0–100 m, 100–300 m and 300–600 m). In the area south and east of Heard Island, over bathymetry ≥1000 m depth, the water column had characteristics of the southern branch of the Polar Front (S-PF) and the macrozooplankton and micronekton were dominated by Antarctic Zone fauna (e.g., the euphausiids Euphausia triacantha and Euphausia frigida, and the myctophids Krefftichthys anderssoni, Electrona antarctica, Gymnoscopelus braueri and Gymnoscopelus nicholsi). Shallow slope and shelf stations were located north of the S-PF and the macrozooplankton assemblages we re influenced by Polar Frontal Zone species (e.g., Euphausia vallentini), while the shelf micronekton were dominated by the bentho-pelagic channichthyids Champsocephalus gunnari and Channichthys rhinoceratus, together with G. nicholsi. Most macrozooplankton migrated from the deep epipelagic (100–300 m) into the surface epipelagic (Rhincalanus gigas, Themisto gaudichaudii). Most micronekton species occurred in the mesopelagic layers (300–600 m) during the day, and migrated into the deep and surface epipelagic at night. Only the small but very abundant K. anderssoni utilized the top 300 m during the day. The vertical distributions of macrozooplankton and micronekton are discussed with respect to the foraging behavior and diets of top predators.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hunt, BPV and Swadling, KM
Keywords: Kerguelen Plateau, food webs, top predators, zooplankton, nekton, macrozooplankton, micronekton, mesopelagic, vertical migration, community structure, Antarctic, Heard island, Southern Ocean
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Marine Systems
Publisher: Elsevier Science Bv
ISSN: 0924-7963
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2021.103575
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V.

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